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9 March, 1999

'The Indoctrination of Citizen Smith Jr'

The Citizenship Foundation responds to MelaniePhillips' article in The Sunday Times, 7th March 1999.

The Editor The Sunday Times 1 Pennington Street LONDON EC1 9XW 9 March 1999 Dear Sir Melanie Phillips' article of March 7th on citizenship education is riddled with factual errors and misconceptions. They cannot all be challenged here, but I would refute at least a couple of misleading assertions about the Crick Report proposals. It is hard to define the term 'citizenship' but neither the Citizenship Foundation nor Crick show any 'fundamental confusion' on this issue. The Report identifies three main elements, namely 'social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy'. It promotes throughout what Melanie Phillips calls the term's 'all-but-forgotten primary meaning of duties and obligations to others' in its repeated emphasis on respect, cooperation, and socially and morally responsible behaviour. Key concepts identified, and repeatedly recommended, by Crick and his team include 'fairness, justice, and the rule of law'. They advocate 'acceptance of responsibility' and 'civility and respect for the rule of law'. We wonder where Melanie Phillips finds evidence for 'detecting...a rampant agenda of rights', or for her extraordinary assertion, 'Rights come first. Responsibility, never spelt out, is an afterthought...'. That rights and responsibilities must go hand in hand is manifest in all our projects and publications and clearly spelt out in the Report. Yours sincerely, Jan Newton Chief Executive, The Citizenship Foundation Share

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